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FDA Issues Global Raw Packaged Seafood Import Alert

Rick Quinn

FDA Issues Global Raw Packaged Seafood Import Alert: FDAImports.com Reports Numerous International Firms Impacted 

“Detention Without Physical Examination of Refrigerated Vacuum Pak or Modified Atmosphere Packaged Raw Fish and Fishery Product”, or Import Alert #16-25, is currently impacting exporters around the world who regularly ship modified atmosphere or vacuum packed, raw seafood into the US. According to this law, the FDA will detain all imported, raw seafood by default, provided that these items have been shipped by firms which do not meet requirements set forth by a 'Green List' used by the FDA. The FDA created this alert in order to stave off cases of Clostridium Botulinum, or deadly botulism poisoning. This becomes a risk when uncooked seafood is sent in packaging which does not allow anaerobic conditions in which oxygen can circulate. As of September of 2009, the FDA's Green List only lists 46 international firms that meet the standards set forth by IA #16-125.

A report from Benjamin L. England, from FDAImports.com, states that there are such a small number of companies on the Green List due to the serious nature of botulism. This can present a significant danger for consumers, and can also threaten the trustworthiness of the FDA. The FDA's main job is to protect the food supply of the United States. Botulism is a deadly threat, most notably when it comes to babies. Because of this situation, the FDA has created an international alert concerning imports. Ultimately, it's a good thing to get your firm listed on this Green List report. Only 46 companies do not have to undergo DWPE and are listed on this Green List. No other firm is allowed to send raw seafood into the United States using anaerobic packages.

Those who import raw MAP (modified atmosphere packaged) or Vac-pac (vacuum packaged) seafood are otherwise required to meet IA #16-125 standards. In order to be allowed to export to the United States in any capacity, processors in foreign nations must get themselves listed on the Green List. Customs agents and the FDA will keep and inspect any MAP and Vac-packed, refrigerated seafood. Without discussing the legality of this law, Mr. England compares these regulations to being 'guilty until proven innocent', which is expensive, but not impossible. The only way to successfully import products of this nature is to become listed on the Green List. 

The FDA is receiving increased funding, and will continue to be better funded throughout 2011, which makes them even more powerful when dealing with foreign companies who manufacture or import food to the US. In 2010, the FDA received a 20% increase in their funding over the previous year, and continues to seek another 19% over their 2010 budget. Because of the negative press and pressure surrounding the FDA regarding the dangers of food which is imported, much of this extra funding will be directed towards enforcing the safety of imported foods. 

In order to get listed under IA #16-125's Green List and avoid having your exports detained on their way into the US, or if you are uncertain regarding the compliance of your firm with the FDA's regulations, visit FDAImports.com, LLC, for more guidance. FDAImports.com operates as a consulting firm which will assist your company when attempting to get Green Listed. FDAImports.com will also help you correct any existing violation which have caused the detention of shipments into the US, and advise you regarding accessing the US market again. You shouldn't allow these detention periods to hinder your business or destroy your good name. FDAImports.com urges firms who find themselves in these situations to contact them for specific advice on establishing themselves on the FDA's Green List.